Breathing Space?

by Zhenya

I have been thinking about running an intensive training course for teachers, and specifically, about how ‘intense’ it needs to be in order to be helpful (efficient/effective/meaningful, etc.), and… enjoyable. How much can one learn in 4, 5, 6 weeks? What does ‘learn’ mean in this sense?

With these thoughts in mind, I came across a poem called ‘Fire’ by Judy Brown (you can read her post and the complete poem here)


What makes a fire burn

is space between the logs, 

a breathing space.




I refer to this ‘breathing space’ simply as time to think and reflect. Now, the paradox is that it is often an intensive course for teachers, which lacks this time to step back (for a number of reasons, mainly for the course requirements, demanding that course participants have to submit certain number of written assignments, detailed lesson plans, course portfolio, and much more) It suits a certain type of learners, and it depends on how informed the participants are about the nature of the course, and how motivated they are (and again, on many more factors) Making space for ‘breathing’ sometimes means making a work day longer (by inserting more break time, for example, or having 5-minute reflective writing/journaling slots at the end of each session)

I am leaving the questions unanswered for now – especially in the light on an intensive course for teacher trainers/mentors I am going to run later this month. Will keep thinking about making those spaces.

A fire


simply because the space is there…